Monday, June 22, 2015

Planned condo towers will bring a bit of Uptown to the burbs

For three decades, the tallest thing at the southwest corner of the Dallas North Tollway and State Highway 121 in Plano has been a water tower.
Next week the empty water tank will be knocked down.
And going up right next door will be a 30-story condominium tower.
That’s right, deluxe condos sprouting in a field of sunflowers in Dallas’ north suburbs.
The condo tower is just part of a $2 billion development that will turn part of West Plano into a little slice of Uptown.
Along with the high-rise housing the planned Legacy West project will include about 800 apartments, dozens of new restaurants and shops plus a 300-room hotel tower.
Two years from now there will be more than 13,000 people working in the 240-acre development at offices for Toyota, Liberty Mutual Insurance and FedEx Office.
Still, news that a condo high-rise is coming to the former cotton fields of Collin County is catching some folks off guard.
“I’m shocked that something like this is taking place that far out in the suburbs,” said Judy Pittman, who has sold high-rise homes in Dallas’ Turtle Creek and Uptown markets for almost 20 years.
“People love Turtle Creek — it’s our Fifth Avenue,” said Pittman. “And many of the condo buyers on Turtle Creek have come from the suburbs — it’s not just the Highland Park crowd.”
150-home tower
But Pittman concedes that not everyone wants to move to central Dallas for high-rise living.
“The lifestyle is appealing,” she said. “Obviously, there’s a market out there in Plano, too.”
Developer Jim Duggan, one of the partners in the planned Legacy West condo tower, said the initial response to the building has been good.
The smallest units in the 150-home tower will be about 900 square feet and will start at over a half million dollars.
“Most of the buyers we are talking to are in the West Plano area,” Duggan said. “They are older empty nesters who are trying to get out of their big houses.
“We’ve also been contacted by people who are being relocated to the area and are interested.”
Toyota and Liberty Mutual will be relocating professionals from Southern California and East Coast markets where high-rise homes are old hat.
There are actually two condo towers being talked about for West Plano.
Another development group — Visions5 LLC — is pitching plans for a 17-story condo tower south of Legacy business park on Spring Creek Parkway. The building would have over 70 units.
Grapevine Lake tower
Still another condo tower is in the works in Denton County on Grapevine Lake.
Irving-based Realty Capital Management is rounding up buyers for a 14-story residential tower it wants to build in Flower Mound’s Lakeside development.
The tower would have about 48 units starting in price near $585,000.
Leslie Bardo of Realty Capital Management said there’s been ample buyer interest in the project, but persuading lenders to back the deal has been tougher.
“Financing for a suburban condo tower is a little different than looking for financing for a project in Uptown,” Bardo said. “It’s been an education to get the bankers to wrap their heads around it.”
Realty Capital is working with a Denver investment adviser to fund the project and homes to start construction later this year.
“We’ve had a super response,” Bardo said. “We have people in the area who want to stay in Flower Mound and are empty nesters.
“They are looking to downsize and love the idea of having a view of the lake.”   
Steve Brown/ Dallas Morning News